T Nation

How to Stretch Hip Flexors?


#1

I have a tight lower back, and I assume from all the reading that I have done I can attribute that to tight Hip Flexors.

What stretch routine should I follow to eliminate tight hip flexors and thus a tight lower back?


#2

Search for 'Lazy Mans Guide to Stretching' and 'Neanderthal No More'


#3

Good question. Ask Robertson in his monthly thread for professional advice.

I have a feeling that it might have something to do with a tight psoas. This is something that I have been getting more and more interested in. I have been getting myo-fascial/structural integration therapy for a few weeks now for similiar problems to what you mentioned... here is what I learned so far.

Tight psoas. Tight quadratus lumborum (left side). Tight TFL/ITB. Tight traps/shoulders (it fits in to the tight hips because your shoulder and head might be out of alignment. If your shoulders are out of alignment it makes it virtually impossible for your pelvis to be balanced.)


#4

This is really quite interesting-- I've had some shoulder trouble (loose rotator cuff...several mild dislocations over the last few years, and I'm working to build it up) and I've had some low-back tightness on the opposite side. Never even thought they could be connected.


#5

Get the Magnificient Mobility DVD.


#6

There's other related articles too: Pelvis Has Left The Building and Get Your Butt In Gear

Anything by Robertson really. Ask him for advice in his column, he seems like a nice guy!!


#7

ICS,

""This is really quite interesting-- I've had some shoulder trouble (loose rotator cuff...several mild dislocations over the last few years, and I'm working to build it up) and I've had some low-back tightness on the opposite side. Never even thought they could be connected.""

COOL! Yea everything is connected, it's really cool to realize. I know that anybody with a good memory that has read my posts is going to think I am "Rolfing" salesmen or whatever but the only thing I have ever found that really addresses this "whole body structure" issue is "Rolfing" by brand name and generically known as "structural integration."

Try searching 'Rolfing' and 'Structural Integration' on this forum and on Google. I am about to go for my fourth session and I am learning a lot and feeling better.

Robertson's articles regarding the foam-roller have helped a lot too. And seriously, like the other poster mentioned, ALL of Robertson's articles are REALLY GOOD! Start reading.


#8

Check this article of mine for several hip flexor stretches:

The Cat's Lair at http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459443

Use the JP's 4-Stage Static Stretch with the (ipsilateral) arm extended as displayed in the Anterior Faascial Chain Stretch for maximum effect. Do this in 3 positions (i.e. front foot elevated, both feet on the ground, and rear foot elevated) alternating between both sides for 3-5 sets of 15 seconds each. If there is a significant discrepency between both sides then use a 2:1 ratio - start and end with the tight side and sandwich the other side in between.

If you can, perform this routine multiple times a day for a few weeks and you should notice some decent results.

Let me know how this approach works for you.

John Paul Catanzaro


#9

As far as hip flexor streches, there isn't too much more than the basic one: down on one knee and pushing the hip of the down knee forward. You can modify that by putting the foot behind you up on a bench (like the bottom position of a bulgarian squat).

As most of the responses have alluded to though, there are two factors involved here: 1.)hip flexor tightness, and 2.)the resulting inhibitory effect on your gluteals. You have to gain flexibility in your hip flexors, and you also have to re-activate your gluteals, which will in turn relieve stress from your hamstrings, allowing them to be stretched and returned to their normal length as well.

Several of the articles mentioned above (Neanderthal No More, Get your Butt in Gear), can help you accomplish that.


#10

Actually picked this up from tacticalathlete, and it has worked VERY well (I have chronic hip flexor tightness from years in the infantry). Get into a basic neck bridge starting position, then extend your hips (not spine, there is a subtle but noticable difference), but, instead of pushing with the back of your head, keep your shoulders on the floor. Hold fully extended (hard posterior chain contraction) for about 3-5 seconds, lower and repeat about 5 times. Then, squeeze a medicine ball btwn your knees and repeat. Then put something heavy across your pelvis and repeat.


#11

In addition to the quality posts above, my top choice for stretching the hip flexors is the reaching lunge, which I picked up from a Joe DeFranco article I believe. Really focus on reaching diagonally backwards overhead.


#12

This is just a watered down version of a Yoga pose.

I started out stretching for martial arts, but what I have found is that Yoga works the best for stretching. The poses work synergistically together and seem to be more effective than other forms of stretching (except for PNP, but that is not static stretching like we are talking about here).

So get a Yoga book/tape and pick out of it a few good poses that hit your desired target muscle groups. Then do that daily, or as much as possible and you will see a fast improvement in your flexibility.

A word of caution; static stretching does effect your muscles just like strength training in terms of recovery. So don't push each stretching session too much or you will negatively effect you strength training and overall recovery.